Dandelion comes from the French dent de lion, which means "tooth of the lion", referring to the sharp tooth-like leaves. In other folk cultures, the term piss-a-bed is commonly used ... to represent the diuretic effect the roots have! The plants have been around forever, and have been used in folk medicines just as long ... mainly to treat urinary tract infections.
Dandelions ... the roots, flowers and the greens ... have been used in many culinary ways. Dandelion coffee, tea, wine ... are all wonderful! At our house, we throw an occasional handful of greens in fresh salads or with wilted salads. The sharp peppery taste is a complement to other greens. They are great to toss into those late spring soups ... or under fried or poached eggs for springtime brunch. A handful wilted with a little balsamic vinegar are perfect atop a bleu cheese burger or a provel burger like this one! The sharp distinct taste of the greens is great with the mild provel cheese.
Helpful hints ...
- don't pick dandelion greens from a lawn that has been chemically treated ... not a good idea
- Clean them well ... could still have a little bird doo doo on them!
- The smaller they are the more tender they are
- If they are large, stew them in a simmering water, then drain them well ... finish them by sauteing in olive oil with chopped onion, minced garlic ... and dry red pepper.